When I went to get the mail this past Friday evening, I didn’t want to bother stopping at the bank of mailboxes at my condo complex. It is a chore for me to bother with the mail. Get out of the car, walk to the mailboxes, put the key in, turn it and see what the mailbox has in its slim space.
There was a time while growing up when I couldn’t wait for mail to get to our house. Every day at 3pm, our mailman drove up to our mailbox. It had a picture of a cardinal and pine tree on it. If there was something I was looking forward to in particular, all of my focus and attention was to that time of day. In the late 1960’s and 1970’s, the promise of getting something in the mail was very much a part of my culture. Today email, twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media have made any waiting or expecting to receive something in the mail inexplicable to the young of today. And, so it is with me. I don’t want to stop to get the mail, just like I hate going to the grocery store or taking the garbage to the dumpster.
On this past Friday evening, when I was less than interested in seeing what was in my mail slot, I found there was a legal size manila envelope with the return address labeled The Royal Dragonfly Book Awards. For a second I thought it was junk mail until I remembered I had entered my book “Am I Going To Be Okay? Weathering the Storms of Mental Illness, Addiction and Grief” in several book award competitions back in early 2016 before the official launch of it in March 2016. This was one of the award competitions I had entered. What could this be in the envelope? I didn’t think I had won anything. I saw an email come from them but I was certain I hadn’t won anything so I hadn’t bothered to even look at it.
In this ordinary manila envelope were 4 book awards which I had won for entering my book in their 2016 competition!
I was awarded 4 awards: In recognition of excellence.
First-Time Author: Nonfiction
Best Cover Design
I had to look at these beautiful and significant certificates of excellence over and over to make sure they were sent to the correct person! Yes, they were, all four awards given to me as an author of this most amazing book inspired by my life and loved ones and edited and shaped into a most readable piece of literature by my loving, caring, editor Judi Moreo. I couldn’t wait to talk to her. She lives in Nevada, which is three hours time difference behind me. It was about 10:30pm by the time I had gotten around to opening my mail so, at this point, there would be NO sleeping for me and I was glad someone was up to talk me through this! Judi and I were overjoyed at our hours, days and months of rewrites, changes, changes to the changes and final manuscripts edits. Finally, at manuscript 12, we sent it to print in November of 2015.
This feeling I have of validation as an author is beyond anything I could ever have imagined. I had thought my manuscript in its infancy sounded like a badly written third-grade book report. Judi had disagreed when I sent her my first chapter. She had done a favor for a dear friend of hers to even consider reading anything from me a first time, hopeful writer.
My beloved friend, Kathy Jo, had encouraged me; then pushed me to contact Judi. To go from terrible, third grade book report to having a real editor read it was too much for me. But, going through and doing it anyway was becoming a way of life for me. Recovery from Alcoholism provided me more opportunities than I could have dreamt of to grow in that way.
I am humbled and filled with gratitude that what I have written is impacting so many lives. That was my intention for writing the book in the first place. As the poem often attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson says, “If even one life has breathed easier because I have lived, That is to have succeeded.”
My eternal thanks to The Royal Dragonfly Book Award reviewers, my editor Judi Moreo, social media marketing Debbie Cohen and Web Design artist Jake Naylor. I couldn’t have ‘written’ my life to be as wonderful as it is. I would have shortchanged myself if it were up to me.
With much love and gratitude, my deepest thank you to those who have read my book and left wonderful reviews on Amazon, those who have come to my book signings and supported me there and all those yet to read about the life and survival of this individual who has struggled with anxiety, depression, addiction and the depths of grief that makes one unable to breathe.